Hunting for Ancestors


I’ve been researching mine and my husband’s family trees for a number of years, and today, we decided to go to the village of Minstead to see if we could find any of our mutual ancestors. We share a mutual five times great grandmother who was born in Bramshaw, three miles away from Minstead, but she gave birth to her three children in Minstead.

The church in Minstead is All Saints Church and is said to date back to the 13th century, but there has been additions to the church throughout the centuries.


The line of my family tree that was born and died in Minstead were the Hiscocks, Whitehorns, and Phillips. My husband and I spent an hour or two exploring the churchyard trying to read the weather beaten grave stones. Quite a lot had remained in tact over the years and were quite easy to read, but others, we were not so lucky with. We found a few small areas of the churchyard where members of the same family were buried. There were quite a few spaces where there were no markers on the graves, and the odd few that were overgrown.

With both of us descending from the same Hiscock line (my maiden name being Hiscock), we were particularly interested to see how many Hiscock headstones that we could see, as both of our four times great grandfathers had died in Minstead. Unfortunately, we only found the one:


This one was for a man called George Hiscock, and from what we could make out, he died in 1914. I will need to research further for him to find out who his direct ancestor was. I will be including George in my Hiscock One Name Study. We can only assume that the other members of the Hiscock family are either in unmarked graves, or they were in the graves that we were unable to read. The next time we visit, I will go into the church to see if they have a plan of the cemetery that we can use.

Another surname that appears in both of our family trees is Whitehorn. Both of our four times great grandfathers married into that family. Upon searching the churchyard, we came across quite a few:

As you can see, some are in better condition than the others. All I will need to do now is to work out where they belong in each tree and whether or not they are direct ancestors.That will keep me busy for a while.

Whilst we were on our travels round the churchyard, we were fortunate enough to come across the following grave situated under a large tree:


It is the grave of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of Sherlock Holmes, and if you look closely at the base of the cross, you can see two pipes placed there.


About debbielou72

I am a genealogist who has been researching for quite a few years on mine and my husband's family tree. I also carry out research professionally for other people. I am a member of the Guild of One-Name Studies studying the surname Hiscock and its variations. I am also a member of CILIP. I am currently studying for the Pharos Tutors Family History Skills & Strategies (Intermediate) certificate
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2 Responses to Hunting for Ancestors

  1. Clive Ledger says:

    What a great blog! Loved the headstone photos. I also have Hiscock and Whitehorn ancestors who hail from Minstead.

    • Clive Ledger says:

      My great grandmother Annie WHITEHORN (1873-1935) was the daughter of Henry WHITEHORN (1845-1885) and Priscilla HISCOCK (1841-1914), both of whom were born in Minstead. Henry’s parents were George WHITEHORN (1803- c1856) and Rebecca ROYALL (1806-1888). Priscilla HISCOCK’s parents were George HISCOCK (1800- c.1866) and Hannah WHITE (1802-1885).

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